Godblind by Anna Stephens – Cover Reveal
Many of you will have heard whispers of Godblind by now. Although I’ve not read a word of this novel by Anna Stephens (hurry up review copy!), I’ve picked up on the excitement from the author’s publishers and those who have been lucky to gain access to sample chapters.
If you like your bloodthirsty political fantasy then this could be right up your street. We’ve got a ticking time bomb with banished gods seemingly ready to return, a war of unthinkable scales and consequences on the horizon, and a son willing to kill his father to seize the throne.
Now, anyone keeping up with fantasy covers will know that we’ve moved past the hooded men covers of 2010-2014(ish) and we’re just getting over the weapon covers that were popular over the last couple years. Red and black seems to be the new trend, and the advantage of this is you’ve many ways to use these two standout colours to come up with something unique and eye-catching (as opposed to a hooded man who is…really…a hooded man). So, here’s Anna’s cover:
Pretty interesting isn’t it? The first thing I noticed is there’s a lot to decipher, which works well for a book that has mysterious entities working away behind the scenes. What do the skulls mean? Why are there different styles of skulls? What’s with the dragon? The snakes through the eye is pretty grim. I presumed the bird was representative of the rising Red Gods, but why a bird? It’s an interesting cover and for an epic fantasy novel there’s quite a lot going on and that’s unusual enough to intrigue me.
When publishers Harper Voyager offered me the cover reveal, I jumped at the chance on the condition that Anna Stephens would stop by and give us her thoughts (who better to decode how the cover reflects her work than the author herself, right?). Here’s what she had to say:
“For me, in this whole crazy process, which is getting an agent, getting a publishing deal, and getting a book out into the world, one of the things I was inordinately excited about was the artwork. Godblind has existed in one form or another for more than a decade, so I’ve had an awful lot of time to daydream about how it would look on the shelves, what the imagery would look like, which themes it would tie into.
So when my editor sent through the three – three! – versions of the artwork as possible candidates, I nearly fell off my chair. Some sort of squeak may have made its way past my lips, which is embarrassing as I was at work at the time.
My very first impression was, “Holy bleep bleep!” Swiftly followed by, “This is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my life and look at that, it’s got my name on it. My actual name!” Between me, my agent and my editor, we settled on which of the three choices to go for – and it was unanimous, which is even better.
I can also confidently say it is absolutely nothing like I ever imagined it – and that’s a good thing, because clearly my visual conception is lacking compared with the artist’s. The artwork conjures up a whole host of word association for me – magic, blood, mystery, danger, death, faith, nature, grief – all of which tie in with Godblind’s plot, so in that respect the artwork is a perfect match. The layering of imagery over the patterning gives a sense of depth and hidden meanings, which again ties in some plots that are a long way from being revealed yet.
My parents pointed out that the small top-left image reminded them both of the Witch-King of Angmar from LOTR, and who am I to argue with a comparison to Tolkien? And also, yes, my parents are that cool.
I can’t think of any recent fantasy releases with similar covers, so I’m delighted that Godblind will stand out on the shelves and, hopefully, attract a lot of attention. And with it being the first of a trilogy, the style can easily be expanded to tie in the sequels and provide “conceptual continuity,” as Frank Zappa once said.
Finally, the hawk/crow/raven image. Depending on which breed you think it is, it is a harbinger of death, shepherd of souls, symbol of prophecy, seeker of information, sentry or guardian. That’s a lot of mythology and symbology to squeeze into an image, and that’s before we even mention that it’s silhouetted against the moon.
In short, I couldn’t be happier with the artwork and I hope readers will be intrigued by, and pleased with, it. It’d make me pick it up off the shelf and read the back cover, and I hope it will encourage you to do the same.”
Thank you to Anna for that lovely explanation of her reaction to the covers and for giving us a few more clues as to what awaits us beyond the cover. Now, back to revenge and death – here’s Harper Voyager’s official blurb:
It has been a thousand years since the Red Gods were exiled, and the Mireces people humiliated. Now, from the mountains they were banished to, King Corvus is planning his revenge.
Dom is a Watcher and devoted follower of the Dancer, but cursed with a power which sees him gripped by terrifying prophecies of the future. When slave Rillirin escapes the Mireces and arrives in Watcher Village, Dom foresees the unthinkable: a terrible war between Rilpor and the Mireces.
After prince Rivil fails his attempt to kill his father and seize the throne, he flees Rilpor and falls in with a band of Mireces, converting to their faith, and promising to aid them seizing the throne. Dom must convince Rilpor to trust his prophecies if they’re to stand a chance against a Mireces invasion. Because war is coming, as the world as they know it is under threat like never before.
Godblind hits shelves on June 17th. Until then, you can follow the Anna on Twitter @AnnaSmithWrites.